THOUSANDS RIDE ALONE

Victor Davis Hanson has a particularly chilling piece in today’s NRO. Some excerpts:

All in the Middle East claim they want democracy; few wish to fight for it; most begrudge those who do. Tactical surprise was lost long ago. In fact, never in the history of military operations have so many troops had to invade so exposed from such a narrow front. Patton yelled to “______ the flanks” and plunge ahead; but even he would have never been so audacious to send thousands barreling nonstop ahead in a narrow motorized column. It took Sherman three months to slice through the Carolinas; Patton romped his 400 miles in two months; we are impatient that it might take us five days to cover the same distance to Saddam Hussein’s bunker.

Baghdad is their target, but Baghdad is also far away, and the path of desert, marsh, and town is choreographed, and progress televised and watched by the world. Most parents do not leave their teens alone on weekends; but hundreds of thousands of them now are driving tanks and trucks to their rendezvous with the Republican Guard, a modern SS mercenary band of killers and criminals. Scuds that we were assured by the U.N. did not exist are launched to kill our soldiers — shot down by Patriot missiles we were told would not work. In response, 48 hours into a war snarly foreign journalists demand proof of Weapons of Mass Destruction — who we know will be silent when evidence of them soon appears.

And thousands of Americans ride alone on to Baghdad.

Indeed. The impatience that the public has for the war is amazing. Oddly, I think the Internet, and indeed in a small way the Blogosphere, contributes to this. We want everything now! Something new, now! It is incredibly unreasonable but nonetheless becoming our national reflex.

CNN tele-journalists are expelled from Baghdad; and in perplexity (given their own slant and bias) they whine that a suddenly ungrateful Saddam Hussein usually was fairer to them than the United States. Arab papers lie that atomic bombs were used. Hamas calls for suicide murdering. Our own New York Times’s headlines blare “Oil Wells Burn” even as we read that less than a dozen, not 600, are ablaze. Its columnists in a time of war call for the resignation of the secretary of state and claim protesters not soldiers under fire are our true heroes. Articles allege that the news is slanted — and in the Pentagon’s favor no less! Most of us in response sigh that at least we are spared from more of the nightly nonsense of Scott Ritter, Dominique de Villepin, and Hans Blix.

And thousands of Americans ride alone on to Baghdad.

Indeed. Powerful piece. Needless to say, read it all.

Update: Reader Hank Maus notes via e-mail that there are a fair number of Brits, Australians, and others riding along. There are indeed. Over a dozen of them have already paid with their lives. I think Hanson’s “alone” is intended to be mean unaccompanied by the type of people who deride their mission rather than without allies from other nations. Indeed, 30-plus states are part of the coalition, although the US and UK are doing most of the heavy lifting.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.